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No, You Can't Vote Twice During the Presidential Election

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With the presidential election coming up, many are beginning to focus on whether they're registered to vote, how and where they'll cast their ballots, and which candidate they'll vote for. There's also another question that's been floating around: Can you vote twice? Though the answer may seem like an obvious one, that hasn't kept people from wondering if there's a way they can make their vote go even further during these tumultuous times. If you're one of those people, you should read on. 

It can be confusing keeping all of the facts straight when it comes to voting. Recently, President Donald Trump muddled things up further when encouraging voters in North Carolina to mail in ballots and vote in person. You shouldn't do that, but why? We've got the answers you're looking for, so if you're wondering about how to approach this election and whether you get two votes to cast, here's everything we know to prep you for the big day. The most important thing is that you're voting. 

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Can you vote twice during the presidential election?

No, you can't vote twice during the upcoming election. It's actually illegal to do so, as Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections explained. 

"It is illegal to vote twice in an election," she said. In fact, according to North Carolina law, it can become a "Class I felony" should you do so, though each state handles doubling up your ballot differently. Right now, there are 11 states that explicitly prohibit voting in more than one state, seven states that prohibit voting twice within the same state or the same office, and 31 that outlaw voting twice in the same election. 

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Double voting can be a felony in some states as well, though it's rare to see offenders jailed or ordered to pay fines. Of course, that doesn't matter as it's not something that's an especially good idea to take part in or chance. You can check and see what your state laws dictate via the National Conference of State Legislatures

Even if it seems like you might not get caught, it's not worth casting your ballots via mail and also in person, even if you're worried your vote won't make it to its destination. You don't want to chance potentially committing a crime based where you're located. If you're not requesting a mail-in ballot, please make sure you wear a mask if you head out to a polling station to cast your vote. And please, please, be kind to your poll workers.

Don't forget to request your ballot if you plan on mailing it in this year, however. Everyone following protocols in place for safety during COVID-19 can make the process a much less painful and dangerous experience, and one that you only have to actually do one time. 

Election Day is Nov. 3. Register to vote at vote.gov and head to your state’s board of elections for details on requesting a mail-in or absentee ballot.

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